We were business partners.

Sold friendship for fifty cents.

Choosing bracelet-colors cost extra.

The only friendship that ever mattered was free.

I’m not sure why you gave it to me.


Remember the day you taught me to skip

Stones in the mud-hole down the street?

Never thought much about mud, until then.

You wore that grey jacket.

Your rain-slicked hair dripped over your eyes.

I wish I still had “something that cool” by my house.


Sometimes we’d sneak inside our concrete tunnel.

Exchange glances.

Share secrets.

The pebbles ground into my palms.

They formed dents in my skin.

They didn’t cut me the way the bullet did.


You salvaged me from youth’s riptide.

Reached for my hand in the dark

Chasm between our worlds

And pulled me closer.

Some said it was too close.

I sucked at skipping stones.


Remember the night we danced in my living room?

You wished your parents would never come.

I didn’t believe in third dimensions,

Or I would have smuggled you

The same way we smuggled those cinnamon toothpicks.

Hid you in that guarded

Pocket, where I’ve preserved your picture.


Instead, our parents jolted our tunnel.

Shattered the concrete.

Ripped velcro

Until it bled.

The scars still shed tears.

But the truth is,

Fate knew that if I was there,

You never would’ve pulled the trigger.


© All Rights Reserved Caroline Adele O’Brien


One October Mourning

It was a morning in October,
When the wind was rushing over
Pines and fields of four-leafed-clover.
Clouds were hanging over Dover.
A stranger wandered into town,
Dressed up in black, with hair of brown.
His grave-eyes wild.  He wore a frown.
A stick of wood, he whittled down,
Into a marionette with laces.
He carved three entrancing faces.
One whose tears could fill six vases.
The second’s smile, its face embraces.
The third had blanketed eyes, to snare
Mortals who really didn’t care,
And those who sadly couldn’t bear
Life’s sinuous dancing, pounding ware.
To each creature he met along the road,
And through the town, where e’er he strode,
He’d listen as their emotions flowed,
Reading out their life’s true code.
If deep down, Earth’s true treasures lie,
And with the wind, they longed to fly,
A puppet’s smile would meet their eye.
“Your life’s worth more than gold,” he’d cry.
If cliffs and canyons gorged on them,
But yet, they clung to a thorny stem,
And felt their life still held a gem,
With the sad face, he would not condemn.
But if he found within their heart,
That with this life, they longed to part,
The doll’s blank face–his abstract art–
Would, with its desert eyes, impart
The truth about the world beyond.
The puppet waved its magic wand
To help escape life’s clutching bond,
And, with the man, their souls abscond.
Behind him, the lost souls trailed away.
They vanished that October day.
Left us behind, to romp and pray.
He will return when life looks grey.
© All Rights Reserved Caroline Adele O’Brien